These grilled Italian vegetables are delicious over either pasta or on an appetizer platter with goat cheese and bread.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 cups)
• 1 (1 1/4-pound) eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
• 1 teaspoon salt, divided
• 3/4 pound zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch-thick slices
• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
• Cooking spray
• 4 plum tomatoes, halved
• 4 cups (3-inch) sliced green onions (about 2 bunches)
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
• 6 cups hot cooked penne (about 12 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
• 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1. Place eggplant in a colander; sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Toss gently to coat. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant with cold water, and drain well.
2. Prepare grill.
3. Place eggplant, zucchini, and bell pepper on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 10 minutes, turning once. Add tomatoes and onions; cook 5 minutes, turning often. Remove the vegetables from grill; cut all into 1-inch pieces except tomato. Cut tomato halves in half lengthwise.
4. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, oil, rind, and basil in a large bowl. Add vegetable mixture, pasta, and cheese; toss well.
Note: Salting the eggplant pulls out some of the bitter flavor, but you can skip that step if you prefer. Any short pasta will work.